GratefulSat, 15th Jul '23, 12:45 pm::

I started running again recently. Today I ran (and partially walked) 5mi at our local park. Twenty years ago when I started training for marathons and ultras, all I needed was my youthful ambition and gumption. Now at 42, I bring multiple herniated discs, varicose veins, and some extra weight with me on each run. And if I want to go far, I need to plan and prep properly. I also need a lot more motivation and discipline. After a few short runs, I started buying new running gear - running shorts, shirts, compression socks, headband, headphones etc. I will likely buy new shoes and water bottle/pack soon. I am excited because all of this modern gear is so much better than what was available in early 2000s. The shirts don't chafe, the shorts have pockets with zippers, the headphones conduct the audio through my bones, keeping my ears open!

The best thing I did was sign up for Nike Run Club App. I setup my running goals in the app and have a weekly plan that works well for me. The first week, Nike's Coach Bennett guided me via the app at every stage of the daily runs. Every run has a purpose, whether to get far, get fast, or just get started, said Coach Bennett's voice in my head. With every guided run, he suggests topics for me to think about as I try to keep moving.

Today it was about being grateful. What am I grateful about as I run today? Who am I grateful for? Who brings a smile to my face and makes me laugh so hard it hurts? The moment he said "grateful", I immediately pictured Juliet in my mind. I am grateful she came into my life. I am grateful she is here with me. I am grateful she is still doing her best to take care of me and our kids. I am grateful she loves me.

Three years ago when she first got diagnosed, our whole life turned upside down. Leela was a newborn, Naveen was not adapting well to school life, and the pandemic shutdown all travel and large events. Not surprisingly, I never got back into long distance running by my 40th birthday. Instead I took her from one healthcare specialist to another. 2020-2022 were tough years.

I am grateful that things are better now in many ways. Both the kids have adjusted well to our life in Illinois. Juliet has made a number of local friends and spends a lot of time doing arts & crafts. Her medical conditions have not drastically improved but we have both learned what works best for her - temperature control, no long drives, lots of breaks, minimal stress. And best of all, we are surrounded by beautiful nature and kind people. I could not ask for more.

I am grateful that I can run again. A lot of pieces had to get fall into place for me to be able to run again. For now, the chaos has died down enough for me to take an hour of my day to go running. I still have a ton of chores, paperwork, and medical stuff to handle, on top of actual IT/programming work, but my head is not on fire 24/7 these days and that is wonderful.

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